NORTH LIBERTY — Iowa basketball recruit Adam Woodbury got a glimpse of what life in the Big Ten will be like thanks to somebody who’s been there and done it before.
The 7-foot-1 Woodbury was matched against former Hawkeye center Jarryd Cole during Tuesday’s opening game in the Prime Time League.
Woodbury only scored two points and was plagued by foul problems, but the former Sioux City East star gained valuable experience while competing against Cole, who used up his eligibility at Iowa in 2011 and now plays professionally overseas.
“He’s a professional basketball player,” Woodbury said of the 6-7 Cole. “It doesn’t get much better than that.
“I got a good learning experience. I’ve got a big learning curve ahead of me, but I feel like I’ll be ready.”
Woodbury is among five incoming freshmen who will join the Iowa team next season.
The incoming class also includes 6-1 point guard Mike Gesell, who is from South Sioux City, Neb., and is Woodbury’s close friend.
Gesell scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists while competing against Woodbury’s team in the PTL.
However, Woodbury’s team, which also includes 6-8 Wisconsin transfer Jarrod Uthoff, hung on to win 93-89 before a standing-room only crowd at the North Liberty Community Center.
Cole scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
He was asked afterward to critique Woodbury’s game.
“He was getting into foul trouble, he’s going to have to tone that down a little bit and figure out what he can and can’t do,” Cole said of Woodbury, who picked Iowa over North Carolina.
“And I think right now is a good time to work on that.
“And hopefully, by the time the season comes, he’ll have it figured out.”
Woodbury was considered a top 50 player nationally in the 2012 class. He also is the tallest player to sign with Iowa since former center Antonio Ramos in the late 1990s.
“Being seven-foot, that’s definitely going to help because his length is crazy,” Cole said. “Whenever he figures out what he can and can’t do, I think that’s going to benefit him and the Hawkeyes.
“He definitely has the potential. I love his potential. He’s long. He’s athletic. We really didn’t see a lot of that tonight, but we will get to see that.”
Cole played at Iowa during some lean years when there was little depth on the frontline.
That has since changed under coach Fran McCaffery.
McCaffery has reshaped Iowa’s roster and now the Hawkeyes are loaded with frontline depth.
The returning frontline players include junior forwards Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe, sophomore forward Aaron White and sophomore center Gabe Olaseni.
McCabe finished with a game-high 29 points on Tuesday while playing on the same team with Woodbury and Uthoff.
In addition to Woodbury, 6-10 incoming freshman Kyle Meyer also will provide depth on the frontline. Meyer made his PTL debut Tuesday, but played sparingly because of tendinitis in his knees.
Uthoff also will join the mix, but he has to sit out this season after transferring from Wisconsin, where he was redshirted as a freshman last season.
“That’s crazy,” Cole said of the frontline depth. “You’ve got Woodbury coming in. And you’ve got Uthoff. That’s a lot of skill right there. And when you have a lot of skill, you have a lot of potential.
“And what they have to do is learn how to put it together. And I think in coach McCaffery’s system they’re going to thrive in that.”
Basabe said the the players’ attitudes have been good during spring and summer workouts. Iowa is coming off its first winning season since 2007 and the incoming recruiting class is widely regarded as a top-30 class nationally.
“So far, I haven’t seen any egos, and everybody wants everybody to do well and everybody wants to be good,” Basabe said.
“From what I’ve seen so far, guys seem to want to put in the work. We don’t have any inner turmoil, I can honestly say.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball